Military and civilian members volunteered to enhance their motorcycle skills to avoid hazards and make better decisions on the road during a situational street hazard exercise, at Marine Corps Auxiliary Field Bogue, North Carolina, Sunday.
The Commandant of the Marine Corps’ Safety Division funded the class for the first time and hired Mark Brown, Motor Mark 1 Motorcycle Skill Enhancement owner and lead instructor, to head the training with Bike Safe. He brought in the program after adopting it from London, England, during his time on the highway patrol.
"If you wrote more tickets there would be no change in the amount of motorcycle crashes," said Brown. "You can change the road ways and put up road lights, and that would help in that particular section, but it didn’t help the overall numbers so the last thing is improving the education, and that’s where Bike Safe comes in. Bike Safe is a proactive approach to engage motorcyclists before they do something that’s unsafe."
Bike Safe is comprised of two separate classes; the basic motor officer class and the assessor training class. It is designed to provide mentor drivers with the understanding of the mechanical and mental aspects of riding. The students will take the lessons learned in the course back to their units and provide the lessons learned to help keep military and local riders safe.
"Sixty percent of motorcycle deaths right now are people making poor decisions," said Miles Bowman, Marine Corps Installations East traffic safety manager and motorcycle program manager. "Being in the wrong place at the wrong time at the wrong speed, alcohol influence, stunting and the thoughts they have going onto the road. This program is going to help people address those issues."
The riders endured several training runs on the airfield that tested their evasive maneuvers for braking, steering, cornering, curve recognition, slow precision maneuvering and team riding techniques. They were also taken to the roads for evaluation and assessment of their retained knowledge in actual street situations.
"Motorcycles are dangerous and they will kill you if you’re not properly trained," said Brown. "I want you to be good at curves, I want to you to be good at braking and I want you to be safe, but before that I want you to think about things and not force a bad situation. If you were to force a bad situation in combat you would get you and your partners killed, so why do that here?"